‘Bring Karen Back’ campaign launched by supporters of ousted West Seattle Senior Center director Karen Sisson

August 9, 2014 at 8:57 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 10 Comments

For almost four weeks, we’ve been covering the aftermath of citywide nonprofit Senior Services‘ decision to fire longtime Senior Center of West Seattle director Karen Sisson (WSB file photo at left). While the center has its own board of directors, they don’t have hiring/firing power over staff, but the board voiced their support for her leadership, days after learning of her firing.

Now community supporters are launching a campaign, telling WSB that tomorrow, a community petition drive will kick off to urge Sisson’s reinstatement. Volunteers are gathering at the West Seattle Farmers’ Market at 10:30 am Sunday to ‘share information and collect signatures and support for bringing back Karen Sisson as director of the Senior Center of West Seattle,” according to a note we received today from Cindy, who adds, “Any volunteers are welcome to join us. We are also setting up a Facebook page, ‘Bring Karen Back,’ for people to start their own petitions and upload information.” That page is here. Sisson led the Senior Center for a quarter-century, with her accomplishments and the center’s growth detailed and celebrated in the center’s newsletter earlier this year.

Meantime, the West Seattle center’s board president David Robertson told WSB this past week that they “continue to work on this issue.”

Would you know human trafficking if you saw it? West Seattle Democratic Women’s awareness campaign continues

August 5, 2014 at 10:22 am | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

Did you see the signs? West Seattle Democratic Women‘s human-trafficking-awareness campaign is in a new phase with pop-up signage – the sign above was the fifth of six signs displayed Saturday along Harbor Avenue, and you’ll see them again this Thursday, 4-6 pm, on Fauntleroy Way just east of Morgan Junction. Elizabeth Heath, chair of the WSDW campaign, shared the photo and explained that WSDW is displaying the signs “a la the highway ‘Burma Shave’ signs of the past. One message was: Human Trafficking//Near Your Home//Don’t Delay//Pick Up The Phone//For Help, Call 888-3737-888″ – a national hotline to report human trafficking – followed by a sign for WSDW and its website. She adds, “Passersby on foot, on bikes, and in cars showed support by waving, blinking lights, or stopping by to learn more about the issue. You can expect to see these folks and their signs on various busy West Seattle streets over the next six weeks. Here’s a chance to learn more about Human Trafficking and how you can make a difference.” WSDW’s campaign has its own page on the group’s website, here. Not sure you would know human trafficking if you saw it? Some basic info is on this brochure from another local organization, Seattle Against Slavery.

Followup: Words of gratitude from West Seattle Senior Center’s board president and ousted director

August 4, 2014 at 10:15 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 8 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Three weeks ago, we reported on the sudden ouster of the longtime director of the Senior Center of West Seattle, Karen Sisson, news that shocked and saddened many community members – one of whom even picketed.

While the center owns its own building and has its own board of directors, its staff/administration is through the citywide nonprofit Senior Services, which would not comment on the reason for Sisson’s dismissal. Less than a week after her termination, the West Seattle board declared it had voted full confidence in her leadership, and its president Dave Robertson stressed that they were pressing for answers.

We’ve been asked what’s happened since then. Here’s what Robertson told WSB today:

As board President of the West Seattle Senior Center, I would like to thank the West Seattle community for its support to the Senior Center and to Karen Sisson. The Board of Directors of West Seattle Senior Center is hopeful that it will be able to amicably resolve issues with Senior Services, and in the meantime, the Senior Center does not want to lose Karen’s talents and experience in helping seniors in West Seattle.

The Senior Center has been an integral part of the West Seattle community for 40 years, and Karen has been Center Director for more than 25 of those years. Karen’s dedication to seniors and to the Center is without question. Her work is phenomenal. As we continue to work on this issue, we thank you for your support and patience.

Since our last followup, we also made contact with Karen Sisson, who had her own words of thanks:

I have so appreciated the support from the community, it is overwhelming to me.

I am also overwhelmed with the loss of my job, working to better the world of seniors in West Seattle. I have always loved my work, the connection to the community and with the seniors individually. It is so rewarding to see what staff can do to change the course of their world.

Above all, I would ask that the community continue to support the Center and its staff during this transition period. Your support of the Center is the only reason it has been so successful. The West Seattle board is strong and has strong leadership under David Robertson, and Nancy Sorensen who actually used to be president of the SS board. They have some very hard decisions to make and i wish them well in that process.

In the meantime, I will volunteer for Aylene the Stop n’ Shop manager, and assist the board should they request.

While neither Senior Services nor Sisson elaborated on the reason given for letting her go, Robertson said in his first public statement that it had to do with an e-mail.

Reader report: Launch day for the ‘Candy Unicorn Mini Mart’

August 1, 2014 at 5:04 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 14 Comments

The latest tale of West Seattle kids’ summer creativity is courtesy of Meighan. When she e-mailed to let us know about this, we were in the middle of covering breaking news – but we suggested perhaps a wrap-up report could be made available later. She obliged:

Who doesn’t like a tall glass of lemonade on a hot day? Combine that with a Unicorn and what could be better?

Four budding, local entrepreneurs, Brendan, Cashen, Catie, and Sabin, hit the streets Thursday at the corner of Stevens and 45th to realize their vision of the next generation of lemonade stands. The Mini Mart. The Candy Unicorn Mini Mart, no less.

They strategized about the venture for days. They took out a small business loan from Brendan and Catie’s nanny for $11, and convinced her to take them to the local Safeway to procure materials.

They scoped out a location a few block from both of their houses. They meticulously planned each detail. Pricing, signage, and unique combo meals of pretzels, cookies and lemonade. The night before the opening, they confided to their parents, that if all went as planned they would end up on the West Seattle Blog. These kids dream big.

They opened up shop and thirsty west-siders flocked to the stand, many of which were on the way to the hot Caspar Babypants concert at Hiawatha. Their hard work paid off with a 10x return on investment.

When we asked the young entrepreneurs about whether this was a one-time gig, they responded, “No, definitely not, we will open shop again on random days, at random times at the same location.” So keep a look out for the Candy Unicorn Mini Mart.

Moral of the story? A lemonade stand is never “just” a lemonade stand.

Memorial on Saturday for Betty Lee Marks Broughton, 1929-2014

July 31, 2014 at 3:37 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 5 Comments

A memorial service is planned this Saturday morning (August 2nd) for longtime West Seattleite Betty Broughton, who died Monday at age 85. Her family shares this remembrance:

Betty Lee Marks Broughton was born on February 18, 1929 in Missoula, Montana to Cleve and Ora Marks.

Her early childhood was spent on a 10,000-acre working family ranch in Townsend, Montana where both of her parents were born. She attended first grade at a mining camp in York, Montana where her father found work. She has two younger brothers, James and Michael, who were also born in Montana.

After the mine closed, the family moved to Helena, Montana where her father went to work for the Social Security Dept. In 1941, when she was 12 years old, the family moved to Seattle where her father went to work at Todd Shipyards building boats for the US Navy during WWII. She attended 7th grade at Beacon Hill Grade School and when the High Point Housing Projects were completed for the WWII industrial workers, her family moved there. Every day she walked to the Cooper School where she attended eighth grade. It was there she developed several lifelong friendships with her classmates, who still gather every Wednesday for dinner at the Chelan Cafe in West Seattle.

When her father’s next job took him to Everett, she stayed with Harold and Pearl Broughton, who lived a block from West Seattle High School, where she attended 9th grade until she graduated in 1947. After school and on Saturdays, she took the bus downtown for her part-time job at Frederick & Nelson, and gave the money she made to her host family. After graduation, she married Harold and Pearl’s son, Charles “Bud” Broughton, who had also graduated from West Seattle High School. In 1949, they bought their home on 47th Avenue where she raised her four children who graduated from WSHS: Tim in ‘66, Mary in ‘69, Joyce in ‘70, and LeeAnn in ‘72.

Click to read the rest of Memorial on Saturday for Betty Lee Marks Broughton, 1929-2014…

Congratulations! Denny-to-Sealth scholar Jasmine Smith wins national spelling competition

July 29, 2014 at 9:01 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 4 Comments

Midway through her summer between leaving Denny International Middle School and entering Chief Sealth International High School, 14-year-old Jasmine Smith has achieved something big – winning the “Spell It Like It Is” competition at a national summit for youth mentors.

The news comes from Denny principal Jeff Clark and from mentoring leaders Hazel Cameron and Donald Cameron from the 4C Coalition. They took a group of six youth, two mentors, and two parents to Orlando, Florida July 18th-21st for the National Alliance of Faith and Justice‘s 6th annual “Take a Stand to Keep a Seat” National Youth Mentoring Training Summit, held in collaboration with the 41st Annual Conference and Training Institute of the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice.

The official announcement explains that, “This summit/conference and training institute officially launched a multi-year national collaborative focus on the cooperation of law enforcement, incarcerated parents, mentors, and youthful stakeholders in reducing the ‘school to prison’ pipeline from America’s classrooms, particularly for African American males.” A key focus is preventing summertime “learning losses” when school is out, and that has led to the Pen Or Pencil Movement (POP). Jasmine studied for the “Spell It Like It Is” spelling competition as part of POP. Last year’s national winner was also from Seattle and also a 4C mentee, Rainier Beach High School student Savannah Bell. Congratulations to 4C, its mentees, and mentors!

Update: Albert, missing in West Seattle, found & safe

July 28, 2014 at 1:58 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

UPDATE 9:45 PM: As detailed in comments below this story, Albert has been found – thanks to everyone who helped!

ORIGINAL REPORT, 1:58 PM: Albert is missing – and his brother asked us to get the word out:

My 33 year old brother is mentally unstable and likely in the West Seattle area. He was staying at Transitional Resources (2970 SW Avalon Way), but ran out early this morning (the staff thinks between 5-8 am). He does not have a car, cell phone, or wallet, so he is probably wandering around on foot. He is likely in a disoriented state from insomnia. He is of Asian descent, has some facial hair, and wears glasses. If anyone sees him, please contact me by phone (650-387-0738) or email (piwaisfafa@aol.com).

Or, call police.

How local teens spent part of their summer: Rebuilding a custom vintage motorcycle with MISSIONmoto, SW Youth & Family Services

July 25, 2014 at 1:45 pm | In Delridge, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 10 Comments

Program names go by … say, the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative … but we don’t often see/hear the results of activities related to those programs. Here, for a change, is a result. In the photo is Terry, one of the participants in a SYVPI project that led to the teardown and rebuild of that custom vintage motorcycle over the course of a 10-week after-school (etc.) project. He did it with MISSIONmoto, a nonprofit “motorcycle ministry” with garage space near Morgan Junction, which invited youth from the SYVPI program at North Delridge-based Southwest Youth and Family Services to “do a complete teardown and rebuild of a custom vintage motorcycle” – a 1973 Honda CB750K, to be precise. It was a pilot partnership, MISSIONmoto explains; we photographed Terry and the motorcycle at a celebratory barbecue held Thursday afternoon at SWYFS.

Followup: Mayor tells police to stand down in post-foreclosure West Seattle eviction case of Byron and Jean Barton

July 21, 2014 at 8:51 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, West Seattle politics | 79 Comments

(Friday photos by WSB’s Patrick Sand: Above, deputies carrying Byron Barton from his home)
New development today in a West Seattle family’s quest to stay in their foreclosed-on-and-auctioned-off home. On Friday, we chronicled a day of tumultuous activity at the 41st/Holly home of disabled veteran Byron Barton and wife Jean Barton, a day that started with King County Sheriff’s Office reps removing them from the house, which they then defiantly re-entered, continuing to keep vigil with local activists. That evening, Seattle Police and the local City Attorney’s Office precinct liaison arrived, but ultimately left after concluding nothing would be done that night.

(Friday evening WSB photo)
This morning, the activists went to City Hall to ask the mayor and council to tell SPD to stand down – several also spoke during open-comment time at this afternoon’s City Council meeting – and this evening, Mayor Murray sent this statement:

We are attempting to understand all options that may exist in this situation and I have asked Chief O’Toole and the Seattle Police Department to stand by while the latest court proceedings unwind.

An interdepartmental team has been working on the issue of foreclosure and how the City of Seattle can proactively connect residents to resources early in the process. I’ve pledged the City of Seattle’s participation in the Mayors Challenge to End Veterans Homelessness in 2015, and will launch a separate process to address homelessness and increase housing affordability in the months ahead, one of my visions toward making Seattle an affordable city.

“In Washington State, we’ve seen recent victories such as the 2011 Washington State Foreclosure Fairness Act, which I worked on closely, designed to help homeowners and their lenders explore alternatives to foreclosure and reach a resolution when possible. I’m committed to working with all stakeholders, using this and other alternatives in the work Seattle does on housing affordability.”

The City of Seattle and Washington State have resources to help homeowners avoid default and work out repayment plans in order to stay in their homes, or gain enough time to sell their homes on their own terms: http://www.seattle.gov/housing/buying/ForeclosurePrevention.htm and commerce.wa.gov/Programs/housing/Foreclosure/Pages/default.aspx

The Bartons have a lawsuit pending, alleging the foreclosure – which had been in the works at least since 2012, according to court documents we have found so far – was illegal. The development company that bought their house in an April auction has sued for “unlawful detainer” – seeking to have the Bartons removed. The situation that led to foreclosure is complicated; while the house has been in Byron Barton’s family for more than 60 years, changes in the family put it back under a mortgage. P.S. How long this will take to play out in the courts is unknown – the civil system doesn’t always move quickly, and the current trial date for the Bartons’ lawsuit (filed in May) isn’t until June of next year.

TUESDAY MORNING, 9:22 AM: A commenter asked about the Sheriff’s Office role/responsibility at this point. We asked KCSO spokesperson Sgt. DB Gates, who replied:

The eviction was completed and our involvement in serving that eviction order is over.

The legal owners of the house are always able to return to court and get another civil order which would compel our department to act. I’m unaware of any filings or movement on that topic.

Our departments stand is the eviction was completed, anyone reoccupying that house is committing a crime. At least trespass, if not burglary.

It is now up to the local police agency to enforce those crimes.

West Seattle scene: Protester outside Senior Center

July 17, 2014 at 3:23 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 4 Comments

The controversy over the abrupt firing of the Senior Center of West Seattle‘s longtime director Karen Sisson drew a protester this afternoon. We were in The Junction for something else when we saw Vanessa‘s comment on our followup from last night, saying she was going to go stand on the corner with a sign, so we ran by, and there she was. She says she’ll be there until about 4 pm and will return tomorrow. As first reported here Monday night, Sisson was let go last week by the center’s parent nonprofit, Senior Services, after 25 years; SS wouldn’t comment on why, but the West Seattle center’s board director David Robertson says he was told it was over a widely distributed e-mail voicing concerns about SS’s planned direction for the center, and the board met to take a vote of confidence in Sisson’s leadership. While the center owns its building/property, its employees report to Senior Services, so the board’s future potential path of action isn’t clear at this point.

Followup: Senior Center of West Seattle board votes ‘full confidence’ in ousted director

July 16, 2014 at 11:34 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 10 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Two nights after reporting on the abrupt ouster of the Senior Center of West Seattle‘s well-regarded longtime director Karen Sisson, we have an update.

SC-WS board president David Robertson had told WSB on Monday that he was awaiting the center’s parent nonprofit Senior Services‘ reply to questions about Sisson’s reported firing by the organization’s CEO Paula Houston.

When we inquired with Senior Services, spokesperson Karen Bystrom would only confirm that Sisson was no longer employed, saying that otherwise, it’s a “personnel matter.” Robertson said he understood it had something to do with an e-mail Sisson had sent “voicing her concerns regarding points brought to (her) attention in the future direction and management of the Senior Center of West Seattle.”

Today, Robertson told WSB that the Senior Center’s board has met to discuss the situation:

The Board of Directors of the Senior Center of West Seattle met in executive session on July 15 to review the termination of Karen Sisson as Center Director.

The Board reviewed the letter of explanation it received from Paula Houston (CEO of Senior Services of Seattle/King County).

The Board also considered the long-term quality of Karen Sisson’s work.

The Board unanimously voted full confidence in Karen Sisson as Center Director.

As President of the West Seattle Center Board, I can assure you, we will continue to pursue this issue and I will keep you updated as appropriate.

Sisson had been with the Senior Center of West Seattle for 25 years. She has not yet commented publicly on what happened.

The center is a nonprofit facility with a budget of more than half a million dollars per year, one of half a dozen operated by Senior Services, and within that, one of two that own their own buildings. Some of the funding for senior centers, including WS, comes from the city budget.

Longtime director of Senior Center of West Seattle out; board president ‘demands … explanation’

July 14, 2014 at 9:27 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 37 Comments

After 25 years, the executive director of the Senior Center of West Seattle, Karen Sisson (WSB file photo at right), is suddenly out. Hearing about this over the weekend, we sought confirmation today from the center’s parent nonprofit, Senior Services of Seattle, and received it from spokesperson Karen Bystrom. She would not discuss the reason, saying it was a personnel matter. But the West Seattle center’s board president David Robertson had more to say, in this statement tonight:

Without knowledge of the Board of Directors of the Senior Center of West Seattle, and without any consultation with Board Members, Karen Sisson was terminated as Executive Director of the Senior Center of West Seattle on Thursday, July 10, 2014.

She was terminated by the CEO of Senior Services of Seattle/King County apparently because Karen sent an email to all staff of Senior Services voicing her concerns regarding points brought to Karen’s attention in the future direction and management of the Senior Center of West Seattle.

I have demanded an explanation by Senior Services of Seattle/King County which I expect by tomorrow evening.

David Robertson
President of the Board of Directors of the Senior Center of West Seattle

Sisson’s achievements as the center’s executive director were detailed in its newsletter earlier this year, including a $3 million capital campaign for renovations and launching popular programs including its Stop ‘n’ Shop store and Rainbow Bingo events. We have not reached her for comment but will be continuing to follow this. Senior Services spokesperson Bystrom told WSB that Lyle Evans is the center’s acting director right now.

One more note for tonight: Memorial for Karen Sykes

July 14, 2014 at 4:00 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

Forgot to mention this in the daily-preview list – as announced three weeks ago, the public memorial for Karen Sykes, the West Seattle writer/photographer/hiking expert who died on Mount Rainier last month, is happening tonight. Here’s the most-recent reminder we received:

A public memorial service for outdoors writer Karen Sykes will be held on the evening of July 14 at the Mountaineers Seattle Program Center in Magnuson Park.

As Mountaineers Books Publisher Helen Cherullo reflected, “Washington’s hikers and climbers were Karen’s community. She paid tribute to those who came before her and became a leader in her own right,” adding, “this will be the hiking community’s opportunity to pay tribute to her indomitable strength and joyful spirit.”

Cherullo, who worked with Sykes on the guidebooks Best Wildflower Hikes – Washington and Hidden Hikes in Western Washington, will give remarks at the memorial service. Attendees are invited to share their stories and experiences with each other starting at 6:30 p.m., with the formal program beginning at 7 p.m.

Sykes died from hypothermia while hiking in Mount Rainier National Park in late June. By sharing advice and hidden hikes through her work with Mountaineers Books, The Mountaineers, Seattle Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and more, Sykes inspired thousands of people to experience the beauty found in wilderness.

The Seattle Program Center is located at 7700 Sand Point Way NE. The Mountaineers (also) invite those who knew Sykes to share their memories on the Mountaineers website.

Ms. Sykes was 70 years old. She had shared nature photos on WSB, usually via our Flickr group, from time to time, and we published more than three dozen here on the website in the past few years.

WestSide Baby expands, adding Capitol Hill agency in merger

July 14, 2014 at 12:35 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

(Photo added: WestSide Baby and St. Joseph’s board members)
Days before one of its biggest donation events of the year – the Stuff the Bus diaper drive, coming up next Sunday (July 20th) – WestSide Baby has big news: It’s expanding, merging with a similar Capitol Hill-based agency. Here’s the announcement:

Thousands of children living in King County will benefit from a new collaboration between WestSide Baby and St. Joseph’s Baby Corner, located on Capitol Hill. The Boards of Directors from both agencies unanimously voted to merge the organizations, effective July 11, 2014. This exciting development comes as WestSide Baby is preparing for its largest ever outreach event: the 14th annual Stuff the Bus Diaper Drive July 20th.

(WSB file photo from past WestSide Baby ‘Stuff the Bus’ event)
WestSide Baby will continue to operate from its headquarters in White Center, and St. Joseph’s Baby Corner facility in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood will remain open under the leadership of WestSide Baby. Baby Corner will operate under the WestSide Baby name while continuing to honor the Baby Corner legacy.

The merger of St. Joseph’s Baby Corner, established in 1988, and WestSide Baby, established in 2001, capitalizes on the strengths of each organization: the St. Joseph’s Baby Corner community’s longevity and loyalty, and WestSide Baby’s operating systems and deep-rooted support. The organizations have very compatible missions serving local children in need by collecting and distributing diapers, clothing and safety equipment, such as car seats and cribs. Both agencies have operated in partnership with established social service agencies, such as public health and food banks. Combining operations will immediately improve the service delivery to families. More diapers, clothing and safety equipment will reach more local families in need.

The announcement continues ahead, along with more information on how you can help with Sunday’s Stuff the Bus event:

Click to read the rest of WestSide Baby expands, adding Capitol Hill agency in merger…

West Seattle weekend scene: Local ‘STP’ bike ride

July 13, 2014 at 8:14 pm | In Transportation, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

(Photos by Don Brubeck)
While thousands finished the legendary Seattle to Portland (STP) bicycle ride today, dozens of West Seattle riders showed solidarity with their own version. West Seattle Bike Connections president Don Brubeck shares the report:

We had about 30 riders of all ages on the West Seattle STP bike ride today. A beautiful day for a fun ride from SW Seattle Street to SW Portland Street in about an hour, then back to the Junction for West Seattle Summer Fest.

The group included a three-generation family and several “family bikes” or bikes with trail-a-bikes. Ride leader was Stu Hennessey, with help from Al Jackson, Jeff Hallman, and Eric and Michael from Stu’s shop.

See a few more of Don’s photos in the WSB Flickr group pool.

Happening now: Cancer-fighting all-nighter West Seattle Relay for Life 2014

June 27, 2014 at 7:24 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

It began with a lap around the West Seattle Stadium track featuring the participants hailed as heroes – cancer survivors and their caregivers. And with that, this year’s West Seattle Relay for Life was underway as of about an hour ago. More than 20 teams are there for the all-night relay-style walkathon/campout.

They’re raising money for the American Cancer Society, with a goal of $50,000. Some teams and participants have been raising money all year, like tonight’s greeters, the mother-and-daughter team of Gerry and Lauri Cunningham:

Again this year, they made and sold spaghetti dinners to go, and told us tonight that they raised more than a thousand dollars. Just before the kickoff lap by survivors and caregivers, participants heard from organizers including Sarah, who identified herself as a survivor – diagnosed with kidney cancer at age 3, now cancer-free 20 years later: “The money you raise is saving someone’s life,” she said. “It saved mine.” As the night goes on, a long list of activities awaits participants – from the reflective luminaria ceremony at 10 pm (you are welcome to go make your own luminaria in honor of someone fighting cancer or someone who has passed) …

… to lighthearted activities like balloon ping-pong, hula-hooping, and midnight bowling, plus music by “DJ Gary.” It’s participants only from 11 pm to 5 am (some will walk, some will sleep, some will even watch movies) but visitors are welcome the rest of the time. At the heart of it is the walking, whether you’re in costume (like team Answers for Cancers, below) or not:

Tomorrow morning’s schedule includes 8 am yoga and stretches, a fire truck visit at 9 am, the kids’ parade at 10 am, and closing ceremony at 11:30 am. It’s not too soon to start thinking about getting involved next year, either by organizing a team or volunteering to help behind the scenes – more info (and donation links) can be found on the official WSR4L page.

Update: After more than a day, Vincent has been found

June 25, 2014 at 2:11 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 26 Comments

WEDNESDAY NIGHT UPDATE: According to scanner traffic, Vincent has been found in North Delridge, and is with police. *Added*: His mom called us to verify this and also said he was found with an orange bicycle, so if anyone is missing one, let police know.

Click to read the rest of Update: After more than a day, Vincent has been found…

Memorial planned July 14th for West Seattle author/photographer Karen Sykes

June 24, 2014 at 11:38 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

A public memorial has been announced for West Seattle-based hiking writer/nature photographer Karen Sykes. She was reported missing one week ago while hiking on Mount Rainier; last weekend, her daughter confirmed her death, and authorities subsequently determined she died of hypothermia. Ms. Sykes, 70, was known best for her books and columns about hiking, but we also knew her for the many West Seattle nature photos she shared via WSB in the past few years (see her Flickr gallery here). And now there’s word of a gathering to honor her memory:

Celebrate the life and legacy of Karen Sykes at the Seattle Mountaineers on July 14, 2014. Share stories and experiences with friends at 6:30 PM, with a program beginning at 7:00 PM.

Karen Sykes was an inspiration to many hikers as hiking companion, hike leader, columnist, guidebook author and photographer. Even though she is gone, she lives on in her work and in our hearts.

Please send photos of Karen Sykes for incorporation in a slide show to Heidi Walker at fotogirl.heidi@gmail.com

And don’t forget to share reminiscences of Karen at NW Hikers Trail Talk or at

The Mountaineers is at 7700 Sand Point Way NE.

Update: Search over for Karen Sykes, West Seattle author/ photographer lost while hiking Mount Rainier

June 21, 2014 at 7:07 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 17 Comments

At Mount Rainier, the search for West Seattleite Karen Sykes, a prolific hiking writer and nature photographer, is reported to be over. Regional media says it was called off about three hours ago; posts on NWhikers.net pointed to Karen’s daughter Annette Shirey reporting on Facebook that she had been told her mother was found dead. She had commented on WSB last night that she was on her way here after getting word of the search.

No formal confirmation from Mount Rainier yet but KIRO TV’s Chris Legeros tweeted that “the medical examiner is here.” As noted in our first report Friday, Karen was an expert hiker who had written books about hiking and had been an outdoor columnist for multiple publications. We knew her mostly through her photographs – posted to Flickr with the handle “old desolate,” by which she asked to be identified when we published her photos on WSB. She was reported to have been hiking on the east side of Rainier on Wednesday with her partner Bob, with whom she lived in eastern West Seattle, when she went ahead on Wednesday but never returned to rendezvous with him. Search-and-rescue crews have looked on the ground and from the air these past three days. We will add official information when it becomes available.

SUNDAY MORNING: Authorities have reported recovering a body on Rainier and saying the person was female. This morning, Ms. Sykes’s daughter posted this comment on our previous story saying it was her mom.

MONDAY NOTE: The Pierce County Medical Examiner says Ms. Sykes, 70, died of hypothermia.

Update: West Seattleites run 80 Seattle stairways in 1 day!

June 21, 2014 at 10:05 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | 13 Comments

This makes the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon sound like a walk in the park! From Jake Jaramillo of Seattle Stairway Walks:

West Seattleites Michael Yadrick, Doug Beyerlein, and others are running the stairways of Seattle today! Their route covers 100 km and gains more than 11,000 feet of elevation as it traverses 80 of Seattle’s major, 100+ step stairways. They started at Summer Solstice sunrise, 5:12 am in West Seattle at Brace Point. They hope to finish before 10 tonight in Queen Anne.

That’s Michael at right, leading the pack up the Thistle Street stairs in Gatewood/Upper Fauntleroy. Jake adds, “Andrew Lichtman, a stairway trekker from Los Angeles, has come up to walk the same route in two days, camping out along the way.” There’s a Facebook page about the event – see it here.

After hearing from Jake but before writing this, we also heard from Creighton, a friend of Michael, who he notes is a city ecologist mentioned here this spring for consulting on a Fairmount Ravine cleanup. Creighton adds that Michael is tweeting about this at twitter.com/yadrick and that there’s even GPS tracking, expected to work until 4 pm or so. We’ll keep an eye on it for potential updates here. Good luck!

9:56 PM NOTE: Jake reports in comments that Michael, Doug, and company made it within the past hour or so!

Update: West Seattleite Karen Sykes missing on Mount Rainier

June 20, 2014 at 10:27 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 31 Comments

10:27 AM: A photographer and writer from West Seattle is missing on Mount Rainier. If you don’t know Karen Sykes in person or by name, you might know her by her Flickr handle, under which we have run dozens of her photos here on WSB – old desolate.” Her friend Don Geyer e-mailed to say that today is the second day of a search-and-rescue operation for Karen; he says she “was separated from her hiking partner while hiking to Owyhigh Lakes on Wednesday.” According to Don, King County Search and Rescue, “along with other agencies, had 35 SAR personnel searching for her, with the help of dogs and two helicopters. (More search info is in this Tacoma News-Tribune report.) They resumed the search this morning at 8:00 am.” Karen is an experienced hiker who has written books including “Hidden Hikes of Western Washington” and also wrote a weekly hiking column for the Seattle P-I; this June 2004 column was about the area where she is being sought.

3:55 PM: The News-Tribune reports that searchers are still at work but are under orders to stop for the night by 9:30 pm.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: Searchers are out again today, report our partners at The Seattle Times.

Memorial this Saturday for E. Eilene Powelson, 1919-2014

June 19, 2014 at 9:18 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

Friends and family will gather this Saturday to remember 94-year-old ‘Eilene’ Powelson, and are sharing this remembrance:

Evelyn Eilene Powelson, known to family and friends as “Eilene,” passed away on June 16, 2014 at Providence Mount Saint Vincent Nursing Center.

Eilene was born on December 1, 1919 in Bellingham to David and Anna Larson. Early in her life, along with her parents and two younger sisters, they moved from Bellingham to Everett and eventually settled in Seattle before the breakout of WWII.

She met her husband Corden Powelson at the Lutheran Service Center in downtown Seattle 1944. They married on May 3, 1946 at Emmanuel Lutheran Church (Seattle) with Dr. Stub officiating. Corden preceded her in death on September 19, 2000 after 54 years of marriage. Eilene was a member of Peace Lutheran Church for over 20 years.

Click to read the rest of Memorial this Saturday for E. Eilene Powelson, 1919-2014…

International competition again this year for underwater-robotics trio AMNO & CO

June 15, 2014 at 12:42 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | Comments Off

(AMNO & CO in regional competition, sped up 2.8x)
For the third year in a row, we’ve received an update from AMNO & CO, the local trio that competes in underwater robotics, and again this year, they’ve made it to the international level! Team member Alex Miller shares this update as he and his teammates get ready to head to this year’s competition in Michigan:

Last month, the local Seattle team AMNO & CO qualified to compete in the international level of the MATE ROV competition by winning the Pacific Northwest Regional. (For more information on the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center’s Remotely Operated Vehicle competition [go here].)

The MATE competition has teams build robots that can accomplish specified underwater tasks. For the team members – Alex Miller, Nicholas Orndorff, and Clara Orndorff – this will be the third consecutive time they have qualified.

At the end of June, the team will travel to Alpena, Michigan, where this year’s tasks revolve around the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which is home to many shallow-water shipwrecks. Not only must teams design and build high-performance vehicles; they also must create posters, write technical reports, and give engineering presentations about the design of their vehicle.

Click to read the rest of International competition again this year for underwater-robotics trio AMNO & CO…

Happening now: First day of the first-ever West Seattle Cup

June 14, 2014 at 1:45 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | Comments Off

It’s a big game for a big world … and soccer excitement is happening at Walt Hundley Playfield with the West Seattle Cup, a community/family tournament organized to coincide with the start of the World Cup. We stopped by at midday, just as organizer Terry Kegel was starting the ceremonies scheduled a few hours after play began:

Young players were settling down to take a break, each in a colorful T-shirt for their team representing certain countries.

Earlier in the day, one team got a thrill – Kelly shared the following photo of Team Uganda with a Seattle Sounders player who’s from that nation, Micheal Azira:

Games continue until 6:15 pm, every 45 minutes in each division (8:45-6:15 tomorrow too) – click ahead to our photos of the schedule boards for the K-2 and 3-5 groups today:

Click to read the rest of Happening now: First day of the first-ever West Seattle Cup…

West Seattle scene: WS Women’s Golf Club & their ‘Derby Day’ hats

June 14, 2014 at 1:18 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | Comments Off

Thanks to Debi Yeabsley from the West Seattle Women’s Golf Club for sharing photos from their Derby Day tournament this past week – specifically, the hat competition! Beth Jackson was “Best Hat” winner:

With appreciation for her fellow WSWGC members’ “creativity and enthusiasm,” Debi adds:

It’s an active and interesting group of women. All ages and abilities welcome. For membership info, e-mail Corinne Burr – ceburr@comcast.net

Memorial service Saturday for Joe Ceccarelli, 1964-2014

June 10, 2014 at 10:06 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

Friends and family of Joe Ceccarelli will gather this Saturday to remember him. They’re sharing this announcement to invite all those who knew him to be there:

Joseph A. Ceccarelli, longtime resident of West Seattle, died unexpectedly of pneumonia on May 7, 2014, at the age of 50. Joe had many friends in the community and will be missed. There will be a memorial service at Arbor Heights Community Church (10213 41st Ave SW) on Saturday, June 14th, at 2 pm.

(WSB publishes obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Another West Seattle Emmy winner: 2 for Brian Callanan

June 9, 2014 at 11:05 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

After mentioning the Emmy Award won by “Diver Laura” James, we learned another West Seattleite was a winner at Saturday night’s Northwest Emmys event: Double congratulations go to two-Emmy-winner Brian Callanan from Seattle Channel, one for his program-hosting work there, one for Interactivity as part of the team for a SC show about the income-inequality issue (in which he says participants included Jack Miller from Husky Deli). The full list of Saturday night’s winners is here.

« Previous PageNext Page »

All contents copyright 2014, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^